OFT calls for industry opinions on ITV

The Office of Fair Trading is canvassing opinion from media agencies on what they believe would be a fair ITV sales operation after the merger of Carlton and Granada.

It is seeking views on its draft proposals for the merger of Carlton and Granada ahead of the implementation of the Contract Rights Renewal remedy on 7 November.

Previously, the OFT had sought views via the IPA and ISBA but it is now asking for opinions from interested parties by 3 November, giving it less than a week to take on board any industry views.

The most controversial proposal is the CRR remedy, allowing advertisers to roll over their contracts with ITV for the next three years. Some agencies and broadcasters have called for a year's delay in implementing the remedy.

It is also inviting views on the proposal to bind Carlton and Granada to any decision made by an independent adjudicator on trading disputes.

The OFT's decision to widen its consultation process comes as Carlton and Granada gear up for their merger with the appointment of Nick Markham, Carlton's director of strategy, as the integration project director.

Carlton and Granada are expected to announce next week that Sir Brian Pitman, a former chairman of Lloyds TSB and a non-executive director of Carlton, is to become the chairman of a merged ITV. This follows last week's removal of the Carlton chairman, Michael Green, from the proposed ITV board.